With 'Blackthorn' in theaters, an excuse to assess the genre
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2. "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Andrew Dominik, 2007)
The best film of a decade, Andrew Dominik's adaptation of Ron Hansen's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" is so many things: a treatise on celebrity, a Victorian account of an era's last gasp, the cloud of mythology (conveyed beautifully by Roger Deakins's camera). It's a sterling elegy to a time, a place, a state of mind. Brad Pitt's infamous outlaw knows his time has past, longs for the closure that never came, strangled by the icon he's become. Casey Affleck, though, steals the film with his unsettling range of reverence, cravenness, longing and, ultimately, remorse.